Make Reservations for the Haunted Hotel
Meet the mastermind behind one of Little Rock's premiere haunts.
Mikey Bolding's Haunted Hotel of Arkansas opens its doors for business on Friday, September 23 at 7 p.m. CDT. The walk-through attraction boasts "chills, thrills and room service that kills," and there aren't any animatronics. The scares come from the live actors waiting to frighten patrons to death.
The Halloween Reporter interviews Mr. Bolding, so haunted house fans can get to know the owner and the history of the Arkansas haunt. And the story behind the attraction's humble beginnings reveal the passion and love Bolding has for All Hallows' Eve.
"I have always loved Halloween. Even as a young boy, I loved to dress up and scare people. Around the age of 13, my cousin and I decided to build a Haunted House at a vacant house across the street from my grandparents’ home, which is where we lived. We got permission from the owners and went to work immediately building a Haunted House."
"It was our first one, but we had a blast building it. It was a good haunted house, and everyone that came through loved it and complimented us on it. The next year a friend of ours, Kathy Guster, who lived in an apartment not far from there, decided she would let us do one in her apartment. So, we took off to another haunted house adventure, and for an apartment it was great as well."
"My mom, Kathy Chism, saw how much we liked doing Haunted Houses. We could actually make them scary, and people enjoyed coming to them. So, she decided we needed to go bigger and better. She looked around for a big building, and loyal and behold she found what was the Little Rock Expo Center at County Line back then. She knew the man from Malvern who was in charge of it, and she managed to get him to rent a portion of it to us."
"So, we take off on the biggest adventure yet, and we provided to the public one of the biggest and best haunted houses that year. People came from everywhere and stood in line for hours just to go through the Haunted Hotel. Back then it had a different name. There was never less than a 100 people in line, and everyone said it was well worth the wait."
"This is where I met my wife, Becky Bolding, and from there we made it a yearly event. Our location was never the same with the exception of a couple of places where we got to rent the same building a couple years in a row. Even at the start of the Haunted Hotel, we always went big and never had less than 30 to 40 monsters working in the Haunted Hotel. And it was different rooms and monsters every year."
Q: How does the Haunted Hotel stand apart from other haunted houses?
A: "I believe our Haunted Hotel stands apart from the rest because we never have animated characters. All of our monsters are real, and most have been with us from the beginning. Therefore, they are like real actors who play their role very well. We definitely appreciate all our monsters and the job they do."
"People flock to our haunted house every year regardless of where we are located. They will always find us and come back to get their scare on because they hear how good it is. Word of mouth is the best advertisement around."
"We have people who literally come through after waiting for hours in line, and they purchase another ticket just to wait and come back through to get their scare on again. We've had buses pull up and unload who heard about our haunted house and go through it. Some can make it through, and there's some that have to be escorted back out because they just can't take all the scares."
Q: How old must you be to enter the Haunted Hotel?
A: "We tell parents with children younger than 10 they may want to make sure their child can handle it as most think they can and find out later they can't. Adults who purchased tickets have stood in line and changed their minds before it gets their turn and end up leaving. We do have people onsite who will watch the younger ones who don't want to go through, so the parents and others can enjoy the scares only our haunted house provides."
Q: What are the advantages of purchasing the Speed Pass?
A: "Our Speed Pass is a pass anyone can purchase for a few extra dollars, and it takes them to the front of the line, so they don't have to wait for an hour or more to go through."
Q: What changes will visitors find on Family Night?
A: "The only change on our family night is the price. You get a discount on family night that’s much cheaper than our regular nights."
Q: How long does a trip through the Haunted Hotel last?
A: "The haunted hotel is very large and has many rooms and dark hallways. It generally takes our guides about 15 to 20 minutes to walk a group through. Now, some groups will be so scared they will literally push and try to run to get out. And, yes, the walls have been torn down many times as they try to push their way through."
Q: What kind of monsters, rooms and scares can visitors expect?
A: "Visitors can expect many characters like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Meyers and so many more. We have rooms only monsters could dream up, and each room represents the monster who plays the part in his/her room."
"I will say they will definitely get your heart to racing. So, if you have a bad heart or anxiety, you may want to think twice. I can't really tell you all the monsters and rooms the haunted hotel has, or it would be no surprise to you when you come through. Although, I'm sure they would catch you by surprise and still scare you to death."
Q: How long does it take to set up the Haunted Hotel each year?
A: "We start building the Haunted Hotel between June and July every year, and it generally takes a full three months to get it built. We want to give everyone the best and the scariest haunted house for their money. There's a lot of hard work and time which goes into building a great haunted house."
Q: What kind of special effects, costumes and props are employed in the haunt?
A: "The Haunted Hotel has a lot of special effects most haunted houses don't have, and the main one is you don't come around a corner and are greeted by an animated monster. You will actually be scared by a live, breathing monster in each room or around the next corner."
"We have witnessed grown men running out leaving their wife/girlfriend behind. We've seen people come out with wet pants, and some are even crying and running to their cars. And some of the monsters will literally follow them to their cars!"
Q: How scary is the Haunted Hotel?
A: "We take great pride in trying to give everyone their money’s worth, and we try to scare everyone who comes through the Haunted Hotel doors.
The Haunted Hotel is open from 7 p.m. until midnight every Friday and Saturday from September 23 until November 5. Beginning October 13, the haunt also opens on Thursdays and Sundays from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. And on the weekend before Halloween (October 27-30), the Haunted Hotel stays open until 12 a.m. every night.
Please note, the haunt will not be open on Thursday, November 3.
On Monday, October 31, the Haunted Hotel stays open for Halloween night until the last visitors shriek and scramble for their vehicles!
3400 Brown Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204.
Level 1: $20
Level 2: $25
Speed Pass: $30
1: Don't touch monsters! They're not allowed to touch you, but they might accidentally brush against you.
2: Stay with your guide at all times.
3: No running, pushing or shoving.
4: No smoking.
5: No drugs or alcohol of any kind.
6: No weapons.
7: No open flames.
8: No picture taking and no videos INSIDE the Haunted Hotel.
"We also have strobe lights, so if you are sensitive to them let it be known we do use them. If the rules are not followed as stated, immediate removal will happen. We are not liable for accidents: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! We want to keep our monsters safe, and we want to keep ya'll safe."